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9 Ways To Minimize Your Email Bounce Rate

March 20, 2022
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When done right, email marketing boasts an impressive return on investment.1 However, your carefully crafted emails can’t do much good if they don’t make it into your subscribers’ inboxes. 

Emails that fail to get delivered are known as “bounced” emails. If your marketing campaign has a high bounce rate, it can cause a slew of issues, ranging from a damaged sender reputation to a permanent position in the dreaded spam box.

So, what can you do to reduce your email bounce rate? Below, we’ll break down everything you need to know about maintaining low email bounce rates and maximizing the return of your email marketing efforts.

#1 Calculate Your Current Bounce Rate

Your email bounce rate is the percentage of emails you send that don’t get delivered. 

You can calculate your bounce rate by dividing the number of bounces by the number of emails you send. After that, simply multiply the resulting number by 100 to transform it into a percentage. For example, let’s say you send 1,000 emails, and 40 of them bounce. This would make your bounce rate for the given campaign 4%. 

Having a few bounced emails is inevitable. So, what’s considered a “good” bounce rate? Here are a few bounce rate benchmarks to keep in mind:

  • The average bounce rate across all industries is between 2% and 5%2
  • A bounce rate of 1% or below is excellent
  • A bounce rate of 5% or above is cause for concern

What Are the Different Types of Bounced Emails?

As you sort through campaign data, seek to understand the cause of your bounced emails, by learning the differences beetween hard bounce vs soft bounce email marketing.

There are two types of bounces that can occur: 

  • Soft email bounces: A soft bounced email takes place when your email is unable to be delivered due to a temporary issue, such as:
  • The recipient’s email inbox is full
  • The recipient’s email server is temporarily down
  • Your email is too large
  • Hard email bounces: A hard bounced email takes place when your email can’t be delivered at all. Here are the most common causes of hard bounces:

    • The email address is inactive or invalid
    • The email domain is outdated
    • The email recipient blocked you
    • The email recipient changed their email address

Hard bounces are more problematic than soft bounces since they indicate a permanent delivery problem. For this reason, they’re the more pressing type of bounce to address during your email list management. While you may be able to re-engage soft bounce recipients with a later campaign, hard bounces present a lasting problem.

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#2 Clean Your Email Lists Regularly

What can you do about hard bounces to ensure your emails end up in the intended recipient’s inbox?

They should be removed from your audience. Even after taking this step, keep in mind that

your email list quality will eventually decline as time goes on. Some recipients may stop using the email addresses they provided you, due to changing jobs or losing access to it. Others may simply lose interest in opening your emails. 

Removing these disengaged recipients can protect the quality of your email list. Weeding out inactive email addresses can also keep your bounce rate low. 

Spring cleaning your subscriber list can be a tedious task, but it’s worth the time. You should commit to tidying up your email list at least once every few months. 

#3 Use A Custom Business Domain

Google and Hotmail email domains are fine for personal matters. However, they won’t cut it in an email marketing campaign. Free domains look less professional to recipients. 

What’s more, free email domains don’t adhere to DMARC policy for Yahoo, AOL, and Google. DMARC policy is in place to prevent phishing attacks from unscrupulous senders.3 

By using a free domain name, you’ll have less credibility with both recipients and ESPs, leading to an increased bounce rate. That’s why custom domains are the way to go. 

#4 Utilize Double Opt-Ins

While some companies may purchase email lists from time to time, allowing interested recipients to opt-on on their own accord assures a much higher level of quality within your email list. After all, people who opt-in have expressed direct interest in hearing from you.

In turn, these eager subscribers will be more likely to engage with your emails and less likely to send you to spam or block you. 

There are two types of opt-ins you can choose from:

  • Single opt-in: A single opt-in takes place when someone shares their email with you by submitting it on a form. Including a Captcha system can keep bots and spam accounts from making it through this stage. 
  • Double opt-in: A double opt-in goes one step further. After opting in the first time, your recipients will receive an email authentication asking them to confirm that they want to be added to your email list. New subscribers will only be added to your list once this second opt-in has been confirmed. 

If you want to lower your bounce rate, double opt-ins are the better option. They can mitigate the number of invalid emails that make it onto your email list.

#5 Send Emails Consistently

Even if someone subscribed to your email list with enthusiasm, they may forget they signed up at all if you don’t reach out consistently. After a few months of not hearing from you, your next email campaign can leave them wondering who you are and why you’re contacting them. 

You can avoid this awkward situation by:

  • Sending a Welcome email as soon as you’ve added a new recipient to your list
  • Engaging your audience with automation emails
  • Following up with subsequent emails on a consistent schedule going forward

By keeping in touch, you’ll always be fresh in your recipients’ minds. You’ll also get them used to hearing from you on a regular basis. 

#6 Employ Strategic Segmentation

As your email list grows, it may become harder to pinpoint what your audience wants from your email relationship. Not all of your recipients will desire the same type of content or frequency of communication. 

By segmenting your email list into thoughtful sub-groups, you can deliver tailored content that’s more likely to please your growing audience. In turn, you’ll reduce the chances of getting thrown in the  spam folder or having people unsubscribe.

You can segment your audience by:

  • Engagement level
  • Demographics
  • Interests
  • Position in your sales funnel

Design your sequences and broadcasts with the needs of these different audiences in mind.

#7 Let Recipients Control Their Email Preferences

Even if a subscriber has signed up for your email list, they may later decide that they’re not interested in every type of email you send. 

Rather than leaving them no choice but to unsubscribe entirely, you can give them the option to customize the type of emails they receive from you. For example, you can let them pick and choose from the following types of emails: 

  • Announcements
  • Promotions
  • Tutorials
  • Offers
  • Events
  • Newsletters
  • Etc.

Allowing subscribers to control their email preferences can enhance their experience of being on your mailing list and keep them on it for the long term.

#8 Be Aware of Common Spam Triggers

The importance of maintaining a low email bounce rate goes beyond reaching the greatest number of people on your email list. 

Did you know that over half of all emails sent worldwide are spam?4 Due to this pervasive problem, ESPs have created automated spam filters to protect the integrity of their users’ inboxes. 

Your bounce rate can impact your email deliverability. If your bounce rate gets too high, your sender reputation may go down with the email service providers (ESPs). As a result, you may discover that your emails end up in recipients’ spam folders more often. 

If you’re not careful, you could get labeled as spam accidentally, even if you’re sending high-quality marketing emails with sincere intentions. Here are a few common email tropes that may trigger the spam filter:

  • Super large or extra tiny images
  • Broken images and other formatting issues
  • The following phrases:
    • 100% satisfied
    • Free
    • Sale
    • Clearance
    • Act now!
    • Cash bonus
    • Free offer
    • Make money
    • No catch
    • $$$

 

By avoiding these faux pas and including your company’s business information in your email’s footer, you can boost your credibility as well as your chances of evading the spam filter. 

#9 Send High-Quality Emails

Lastly, you need to make sure that the emails you send are truly worth reading. Don’t send emails just to be sending emails. Ask yourself, would you enjoy receiving this email if you were in your target audience?

You can get all of the technical details right, but if your email’s copy, design, and content fall flat, you may still get sent to spam, blocked, or unsubscribed from, leading to a higher bounce rate and poorer campaign performance. 

Supercharge Your Email Marketing with Power Digital

With these bounce rate optimization strategies in mind, you can ensure that a greater percentage of your emails make it into your recipients’ inboxes, attract engagement, and promote conversions. 

Email marketing is incredibly valuable, but it also involves a lot of moving parts. To accurately track analytics and adjust your approach accordingly, you need a marketing specialist. At Power Digital, our digital marketing agency knows how to craft exceptional email campaigns that encourage engagement and conversions, all while keeping your bounce rate low. We can help you transform your email list into your greatest marketing asset. 

Learn more about our email marketing services today.

 

Sources:

  1. Forbes. Email Marketing: Still The Most Powerful Tool To Take Your Business To The Next Level. https://www.forbes.com/sites/allbusiness/2020/10/26/email-marketing-still-the-most-powerful-tool-to-take-your-business-to-the-next-level/?sh=32fbf4634bfa
  2. NeverBounce. How to Prevent High Bounce Rates from Impacting your Sender Reputation. https://neverbounce.com/blog/email-bounce-rate
  3. DMARC. FAQ. https://dmarc.org/wiki/FAQ#Why_is_DMARC_important.3F
  4. Statista. Global spam volume as percentage of total e-mail traffic from January 2014 to March 2021, by month. https://www.statista.com/statistics/420391/spam-email-traffic-share/

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